Social Media Engagement is a Tactic not a Strategy

Working as a business coach gives me the chance to chat with lots of business leaders and board directors. As you would expect we talk about all aspects of their business. When we talk about sales and marketing I hear many bemoan the fact that they have very little social media presence.

There seems to be a common perception that businesses must spend more time and money on trying to increase their levels of social media engagement in order to be successful. 

My advice is always the same when asked about any marketing tactic, without a clear strategy that underpins the activity, businesses can end up increasing costs,  leaving revenues static at best and employing a team of busy fools. 

When l reflect on my own attempts at social media engagement I now realise that trying to create insightful blog posts and thought provoking Tweets is hard work and takes a lot of time with no guarantees of success.

I quickly worked out, based on the limitations of my own abilities that I would have no time to do the business coaching that pays the mortgage if I tried to create compelling content on a daily basis.

I’m not a writer so It’s all about striking the right balance on the billable hours I need to work in a day and the time it takes to write a blog post that supports what i offer and demonstrates how I think.

Any communications that are published via social media need to be constrained by clearly defined objectives, that are measurable and fully understood by those responsible for their creation and syndication.- just like a TV commercial or a press ad should be judged.

Let’s look at Apple, the brand evangelists favourite example of marketing perfection. The business is valued at $104,300,000 - give or take a few million.

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They have around 27,000 Twitter followers and have published a solitary tweet. Their profile pic is still the default egg.  (https://twitter.com/@apple

How about Facebook? Here Apple have 12 million likes and no posts.(https://www.facebook.com/pages/Apple-Inc/137947732957611)

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Clearly, Apple have no social media engagement whatsoever and yet they are the most valuable commercial brand that has ever been created.

Social media engagement is not always an indicator of financial success so before pouring more resources into the acquisition of more followers and likes make sure you understand what you want to achieve from the investment of your time and money.

I read the books several years ago. i now realise that NLP is nothing new.

A few ideas on how to avoid ‘death by PoerPoint’

"In Propaganda (1928),Edward Bernays argued that the manipulation of public opinion was a necessary part of democracy…if that is true then democracy has never been healthier. #pr"

— wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Bernays#Propaganda

Inspirational talk on the beauty and wonder of clouds. Also serves as a timely reminder that it is both essential and edifying to disconnect from the world and make shapes out of the clouds.

A tongue in cheek guide to the various social media platforms. 

8020 Social Media Guide (by Peter Kerr)

Reasons to believe - by Piero Alberici

When we meet start up businesses our first marketing task is often to convince the owners that a nice logo is not the company branding in its entirety.

Of course it is important but a nice ‘badge’ rarely establishes a successful business on its own. Then we move onto traditional concepts such as business personality, benefits and differentiators over the competition.

Until recently this is far as it went. Then a few weeks ago a new client asked me “This all looks good but how can I make my target customers believe it?” This struck a chord. He was right. Every new business needs to communicate reasons to believe.

Yet how can a new business achieve this when it is an unknown quantity? After much thought and debate between us we decided there were three techniques that can help.
  1. Know your competitors inside out by engaging with their service as much as possible. If you are going to open a hairdressers, go and get your hair cut or styled in as many of the competitors as possible (albeit this may take a few months!). This will not only improve the differentiators encompassed in the branding but help to develop reasons to believe. 
  2. Keep in very close dialogue with the first set of customers that are captured. This means more than just gaining testimonials. It is about capturing their descriptions of the experience, ensuring their comments are guided towards the benefits and differentiators of the brand. Categorise these customers in a way that enables the business to check that those who would be expected to return, do so. 
  3.  If the business is web based, ensure you capture as many real photographs as possible. Avoid the use of stock images. If your company has created a wonderful landscape garden for a customer, photograph it not just at the end but from the beginning. Create a short video, using your iphone if necessary. Make the content rich and interesting. Visual reasons to believe are amongst the most powerful, and if planned, need not be expensive to capture. 
These are our ideas. If you have different experiences please let us know. It would be great to hear from you.